Thursday, August 7, 2008
my friend recently shared some techniques she's using to reduce the amount of money she spends each month like drying clothes on a line during summer, which also happen to inclusively reduce carbon emmisions. a win-win, right? i get excited about money saving ideas, that involve recycling and reducing, especially when those ideas also involve me receiving/maintaining additional revenues. so, in an effort to share some great sites i've come upon that save money, reduce waste, and are easy to do, i've created this short list of websites. feel free to share ones that are not on this list.
•paperback swap: lets you sign up, list ten books you’re willing to trade by mail, and the site gives you two credits. a book costs one credit--you “spend” one of those credits on the site to get any book they have listed sent to you. every time you send a book to someone else, you get a credit. other media sites like this: swapadvd and swaptree. i'm also a huge fan of selling all and occasionally buying my books on half.com.
•local harvest: finds all sorts of retail sources for locally grown foods all around you, including door-to-door grocery delivery co-ops. these services are popular in the larger cities like LA and SF. see magda's entry for a review of spud.com, which exclusively delivers to the larger west coastal cities. for a long time, i assumed farmer's markets were my only option. thanks to local harvest, i found a great spud.com-like program in my area, old soul organics.
•bringsome: is a new web site that connects folks who can't shake their cravings for foreign treats with travelers whose itineraries include the countries in which said treats can be found. although it’s still in pre-beta, the site has already logged over 100 requests for goods, which include ads offering to bring something back—-it's like a great big international potluck. and while the savings and the eco-friendliness of it isn't explicit, there's something about connecting yourself to fellow travelers and global strangers that makes me think it helps people be more aware of your larger community. plus, you're likely to save some money.
•walkscore: walkscore allows you to put in your home address, then lists the services near your location in a bunch of different categories (grocery stores, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, movie theaters, schools, parks, libraries, bookstores, gyms, drug stores, hardware stores, and clothing stores). it also assigns a "score" which provides a rough numerical estimate of how good your house location is in terms of the resources available within reasonable walking distance. my score is 35/100, which is about what i’d expect given that i live in a relatively small town. people in larger, more urban areas have much better scores. the score itself isn’t all that useful other than as a thumbnail comparison, instead it serves best as an identification of nearby services for any address. plus, i think it humbles your need to drive. when something is only three miles away, it makes you wonder why you always jump in your car to get there.
•manybooks: has tons of classics that are in the public domain and available for free. all you have to do is download the ones you want. those with kindles (not only do i want to theive your little digital book reader), you have the luxury of pointing their kindle’s web browser at manybooks.net and downloading away. the best part of the kindle coupled with this site is that the web browser on the kindle works anywhere that cell service works. i so want a kindle. i'm already the type of bibliophile that doesn't need to own the books i read, so i love the idea of keeping my life lighter and cheaper. plus, my local library also carries some newly published ebooks, as well, and yours might too. this bookless advantage is catching on with college campuses as well.
•gazelle: is a simple-to-use website that allows you to search for the gadget you wish to get rid of. after you find your item you can input the condition it is in. for example, i typed in "blackjack ii" and i was asked if the item powers on and what condition it is in. after that, gazelle spits out an appraisal and allows me to add the item for checkout. it also has an estimate of how much the item may be worth in the future. for electronics the price trend tends to go down because people always want to buy the newest gadget. after i checked out, it prompted me to print out a prepaid shipping label and ship the item with a box. for some qualifying items gazelle will even send you a box to ship the item. after the item is received gazelle will inspect the item and confirm that it is in the condition you described, then you will be paid the quoted price. this process takes about a week according to the website. the company also guarantees that if you ship in an electronic with data on it they would wipe it clean so you do not have to worry about your privacy. they will also take items with no value for the purpose of recycling. currently the company buys mostly electronics such as cell phones or gaming consoles, but they may expand the types of items they are willing to purchase in the future.
•greenyour: ever since greenyour.com launched on earth day (in beta), it seems to pop up on eco-blogs every other day or so in some form or another. if you ever sit and wonder how to green particular items and/or parts of your life, this is an exceedingly useful resource. everything is arranged in easy to find categories and subcategories, making this one of the most comprehensive, navigable go-to go-green sites. start out with the facts, move through to the tips and then end with products.